Closing the Gender Gap - Action Research Projects

Report
Closing the Gender Gap
By the end of this session attendees will develop their
understanding of the male ego - primarily through
what motivates it.
Attendees will also learn how to encourage genderfriendly, proactive learning in their lessons.
The alleged gender differences
During the late eighties and early nineties with
the increased use of PET brain scans some
scientists began to suggest that boys and girls
brains were differently ‘wired’ and therefore
the differences in behaviour were innate and
not learned (we shouldn’t however reject the
possibility of behaviour being learnt!).
The alleged gender differences
According to the research those
with the more male brains showed:
According to the research those with the
more female brains showed:
• Higher levels of
aggression and
competitiveness
• A better ability to
handle space and shape
• A desire to know the
‘big picture’
• Preference for learning
through
experimentation
• Higher levels of passivity
and greater tendency to
cooperate.
• A preference for detail
• A reduced ability to handle
shape and space
• A more systematic approach
to tasks.
Swain’s spurious claim...
We are all driven by our ego but this is
manifested differently by each gender.
‘Boys’ manifest their ego’s desires through
bravado and competition. Don’t believe me? Next
time you’re around a group of ‘boys’ (or just
‘men’ in general) notice the use of numbers in
their discourse i.e. “I had about 7 pints”, “I bench
about 220kg”, “I got 5 phone numbers” etc.
My spurious claim is somewhat misleading:
just because boys brag and are competitive it
doesn’t mean that we can win them over
through competition in an attempt to see
who’s the best.
Males are keen for praise yet are desperately
afraid of being singled out in front of their
peers and so they resort to being ‘one of the
lads’.
My practitioner Enquiry
Amongst your handouts you’ll see an example
of a questionnaire I gave out to my students to
garner their opinions on the matter of gender
differences in the classroom.
I’ve also created a précis of what I found to be
the more interesting responses - for my
teaching.

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